Saturday, July 05, 2014

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Carol Linnitt observes that the Canadian public supports a shift from fossil fuels to cleaner energy by a 76-24% margin - even as they overestimate Canada's economic returns from oil and gas.

- Meanwhile, Alison takes a look at the spread of (primarily oil-funded) advertorials in Canadian media.

- Kate Heartfield writes that even if the Cons' cuts to refugee health hadn't crossed the line into unconstitutionality, we should still consider them to be unconscionable from a policy-making perspective:
Even if you come away unconvinced of the soundness of the court’s conclusion, it is hard to come away sanguine about the effects of this policy.

A policy that “shocks the conscience and outrages our standards of decency” is not defensible, politically and morally, even if it is legal. It is hard to argue against the court’s opinion that the government “has intentionally set out to make the lives of these disadvantaged individuals even more difficult than they already are in an effort to force those who have sought the protection of this country to leave Canada more quickly, and to deter others from coming here.”

This judgment might not be the final word on the constitutionality of refugee health care, but it’s a damning critique not only of a particular policy, but also of the way our government makes policy in general.
- And Jay Monaco notes that the U.S. Supreme Court's latest set of appalling decisions serves as evidence that we shouldn't lean too heavily on the judiciary to compensate for the regressive legislation and policy choices we tend to see in the absence of a strong labour movement:
SCOTUS, in other words, is always going to be antagonistic when the law itself is the problem. Legal protections like the weekend, the minimum wage, the eight-hour workday, the 40-hour week, and prohibitions against discrimination are of incalculable value. Perpetually orienting ourselves solely toward gratitude for past victory, however, deludes us into a self-defeating reliance on the law as our protector. Much more consistently, it has played the opposite role.

It wasn’t so long ago that former union president Ronald Reagan used the cloak of law to break the air traffic controllers’ strike, an act often seen as the opening salvo in the 30-year war on workers that continues to this day. Yet Reagan’s heavy-handedness was not innovative so much as it was a return to time-honored tradition. Concessions like the eight-hour workday were not granted out of some inherent justice found in the golden hearts of enlightened politicians. They were only granted when the torches were at the gates and those in authority had no other choice – and only then after well over a century of fighting.
- Finally, Matt Bruenig suggests that we shouldn't rely on employers or other private-sector actors to make choices about social development. And Hilary Wainwright points to Public Service International's call for a stronger public sector.

No comments:

Post a Comment